As India and Russia inch closer to signing a clutch of big-ticket defence deals, New Delhi hopes Kremlin will weigh in on the concerns it has raised over Pakistan.
“We have conveyed our concerns and views to the Russian side...We are confident that Russia will reflect on our concerns,” Indian ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran said.
Last month, Russia held its first military exercise with Pakistan. India is expected to convey its displeasure over the war game that coincided with its diplomatic offensive to isolate the neighbouring country after a deadly strike by suspected Pakistani militants left 19 soldiers dead at the Uri army base in Jammu and Kashmir, which is battling street protests for four months now.
Saran, who indicated that the issue of terror emanating from Pakistan would be discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet on Saturday, said the military exercise couldn’t overshadow India’s strong ties with Russia.
“We have to distinguish between the general trend of the partnership, which has developed over decades, and a specific incident. I do not think it is at all legitimate to reduce the relationship to what happened a few days ago,” Saran said.
Several defence deals are also expected to be inked at the annual Indo-Russia summit. These include a pact for delivery of anti-missile defence system – S-400 Triumpf, a new version of the BrahMos missile. The S-400 can shoot down around 36 targets simultaneously over several hundred kilometres. Russia’s most modern air defence system is in use in Syria.
The two sides are also looking at a work-share agreement for the fifth generation fighter jets and a deal to jointly produce Ka-226T helicopters.
The plan is to build 200 of these helicopters, which will replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak choppers, under the Modi government’s ambitious Make in India campaign.
Sources said talks on a framework agreement for two more reactors in Kudankulam and their funding were in an advanced stage.